Expert fears resurgence of ‘environmental narrative’ as US coal miner generates $30 million by mining Bitcoin

Expert fears resurgence of ‘environmental narrative’ as US coal miner generates $30 million by mining Bitcoin

Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP), a US-based coal mining company, said it has successfully mined 425 Bitcoin worth $30 million by harnessing excess energy from its facilities, according to its first-quarter earnings call.

However, crypto environmentalist Daniel Batten argues that the firm’s pivot to BTC mining could harm the “environmental narrative” around the flagship digital asset. He said:

“Bitcoin mining companies have moved off using coal. But I guess you can’t stop coal mining companies mining Bitcoin. Either way, in terms of changing the environmental narrative around bitcoin, this doesn’t help.”

Over the past years, BTC mining companies have increasingly relied on green energy sources, with over 50% of their energy sources powered by renewable sources.

ARLP’s entry into the BTC mining scene could prompt critics to renew their concerns about the environmental hazards associated with the sector.


ARLP Bitcoin mining

ARLP CFO Cary Marshall explained that the company initiated its Bitcoin mining endeavor through a pilot project that began in 2020 by utilizing the surplus power generated from its mining operations at the River View mine. He said:

“If you look at the end of the quarter, we ended up with about 425 Bitcoin at quarter-end in terms of what we own. We’re not actually out there buying Bitcoin or anything of that nature. We’re mining the Bitcoin associated with these miners that we have.”

Marshall further revealed that the firm has maintained its financial stability by periodically liquidating a portion of its Bitcoin holdings to cover operational expenses. He added that the company mined around 69 BTC during the first quarter of this year, of which 25% were sold to meet overheads.

Meanwhile, ARLP CEO Joe Craft said the company is taking a cautious approach to BTC mining by ensuring its exposure to Bitcoin remains limited by selling acquired assets to offset costs. Additionally, ARLP optimizes its surplus capacity by leasing it to other Bitcoin miners, leveraging its data center infrastructure to capitalize on low energy expenses.

Nevertheless, the coal miner hopes it will be able to mine as much as 190 BTC by the end of the year. Marshall stated:

“I think when we look at the full year in total, our projections would show somewhere between 175 to 190 or so Bitcoin for the year in total that we would mine. Now, we would monetize some of that to cover our operating expenses. So, our net would probably be, I don’t know, maybe around 60% of that number or so ultimately at the end of the day.”

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